Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. Today I want to talk about CLICHES. Those lovely, overly used and yes sometimes well beloved plot devices and story lines that can be found in romance novels. According to Merriam Webster a cliche is something that is so commonly used in books, stories, etc., that it is no longer effective.
Within every genre of fiction you will find plot or plot devices that are so overly used, you start to roll your eyes the minute you read them. And the romance genre is no exception. Do you remember the pirate romance novels from the 80’s? I have sadly read a lot of books featuring, sassy heroines being kidnapped by pirates, going on a long
hijacking journey, then falling in love. And that love was almost always the result of a rape, where afterwards through some Stockholm Syndrome magic, the heroine realized that the pirate/rapist/hero was not so bad after all. I was super glad when authors stopped using this cliche by the way.
As much as some people may hate them, cliches will always exist (hopefully not the rapey ones). The only remedy is for authors to explore fresh and new ways to tell a common story. That isn’t exactly easy because the ugly truth about cliches in fiction is that they exist because they are part of life. Love triangles happen, secretaries fall in love with their bosses and opposites often do attract. Authors like to write about things readers can relate to, which is why it feels as if concepts are constantly being recycled. However, bookstores and libraries are filled with great examples of stories that tell these common stories, but avoid the eye rolling and groaning reactions that cliches cause.
Last month I attended the 2014 Beautiful Trouble Publishing Eat and Greet. It was a lot of fun. My husband tagged along with me and he got to meet a lot of the authors I tend to rave about at home. My husband loves these types of events. He’s a big lover of people watching (in non-creepy or stalker like fashion), and there is no better place to people watch than at a romance conference or convention. However, what I love the most about having my husband attend these events with me, is his interpretation of conversations or book descriptions he overhears. His summaries are usually hilarious and a great example of why authors should stay away from cliches. Below is a short erotic story (spoof) he wrote pulling on every cliche he’s picked up on from listening to my re-cap of books or overhearing conversations from romance reader events. To all authors out there, let this be an extreme cautionary tale.
***Please note that the following story has strong language and adult, ridiculous situations.***
John and Jamie met at the bar, they decided to go to the sleazy motel room directly upstairs because this is a bar/motel (yeah I did that).
John beckoned to Jamie, “Oh Jamie, my beer goggles tell me that you have some massive sweater kittens begging to fall out of your bra blouse thingy.”
“John dear, my bosoms are leaking with love juices just for you, they can’t wait to pounce out of their lady dungeons and into your mouth at the same time with a suffocating force of desire. John I just want to smother you with my tits and have you lick and suck them so badly”, Jamie exclaimed, as they held hands and skipped away. They partially fumbled on one another, reaching for each other’s naughty bits in a drunken stupor up the bar stairs into the motel portion of the bar, where they could let their sexual liquids and desires unfold like a ream of paper folder in half.
“Oh my god Jamie, I think my underwear is wet with excitement and pre-cum, I just can’t wait to be balls deep inside of you”, John proceeded to take off his clothes and was already wearing a condom, because that’s the kind of guy that John is… he thinks ahead, good job John, well done.
“I’m so glad that you are such a forward thinker John, I see you have equipped your iron rod with a baby preventer. I love men who think ahead.” Jamie being so impressed with the man that John is, got even wetter, she had dribbles of excitement rolling down her long redwood length legs. Jamie is a tall woman. She shed her clothing only to reveal the nurses outfit she had been hiding for the right person all night. It seems that John and Jamie were made for each other. “Get over here and put your dowel in my hobby block!”
If John wasn’t erect before, his dick was now as tall and stiff as a bottle jack filled with pneumatic fluid, except the pneumatic fluid is blood and instead of a bottle jack it is a really hard penis with throbbing veins.
“Let me go down on you like the Hindenburg baby!”
John and Jamie picked up their clothing and entered the motel room as they ignored the onlookers, “Move outta the way – we is horny!”
Jamie hopped upon the bed awaiting for John to keep his promise, so she moved her granny panties to one side so he could devour her origami mound with his tongue.
John started to furiously lick her lady tool and to everyone’s surprise he managed to insert his penis into her vagina simultaneously – they forgot to close the door.
He pounded and licked his way into her play dough and she screamed obscenities because it felt really really good, but hurt a little because his penis was the size of a Dasani water bottle and shaped like one too. They went at it like horses for a while and then John in a barbaric fury started cumming on everyone in the room. He held his fire hose and just sprayed everything like spray foam insulation then passed out.
The next morning John, Jamie, Darian, Bob, Little Suzie and a Camel all awoke. They all lazily stared at one another and one by one got up, got dressed, the Camel turned back into a human and they all went their separate ways.
This story will win me a Pulitzer, I can feel it in my balls.
Do you have any pet peeve cliches in romance?Any favorites? Share in the comments below 🙂
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. Come back on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month to get her romance industry news…with a colorful twist.